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Can named driver claim bodily injury as third party?

Mrs. Sea was the director of ABC Company. ABC Company takes out a third party insurance on its car with a motor insurer. One day, Mrs. Sea drove the car carelessly, resulting in a traffic accident. She was seriously injured.

Can she successfully claim under “Third Party Bodily Injury” cover from ABC Company’s motor insurer?

Our view is Mrs. Sea's claim cannot succeed simply because she, being the insured driver at the material time, did not belong to the type of persons intended to be covered by the compulsory legislation. This has been held in the decided UK case of Cooper v Motor Insurers' Bureau, 1985. We summarise brief details of the case as below:

"K asked the Plaintiff to road test K's motorcycle. Plaintiff was injured due to defective brakes. He obtained Judgement against K for negligence. K was uninsured. Plaintiff then brought action against Motor Insurers' Bureau for damages.

In the Judgement, it was held that the third party risks cover as required under Road Traffic Act 1972 s145(3) & s143(1) excludes the actual driver and the Bureau won the case."

In order to have better protection, customers should:

  • Take out medical insurance which provides broader coverage on hospitalisation expenses.
  • Take out personal accident insurance which provides a lump sum payment for accidental death and permanent disablement.
  • Most importantly, drive carefully.

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